Pedagogy and translation (26 Jan 07)

Date: 26 January, 2007
Location: University of Salford
Event type: Workshop


workshop attendees

Past event summary

This workshop followed on from the successful Teaching translation event hosted by the University of Swansea earlier in 2006.

The maturing of Translation and Interpreting Studies as academic disciplines offers new opportunities to often hard-pressed Modern Languages departments. In response, new taught MAs (and more recently, BAs) have been developed with a wide spectrum of academic and vocational orientations.

Programme for 26 January 2007
Time Session
10.00 - 10.30 Registration and coffee
10.30 - 10.55 Welcome and keynote address
eLearning for translators: the experience of eCoLoRe, eCoLoTrain and MeLLANGE

Professor T Hartley, University of Leeds
11.00 - 11.25 The role of TAPS and other research methods in Translator Training
Ms S. Hubscher-Davidson, University of Salford
11.30 - 11.55 Encouraging translator autonomy through discovery-based learning
Dr A. Rothwell, University of Swansea
12.00 - 12.45 Lunch
12.50 - 13.40 Workshop: Liaison interpreting as a language-learning tool
Ms I.A. Perez & Ms C. Wilson, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
13.40 - 14.00 Coffee
14.00 - 14.25 Introducing the National Occupational Translation Standards and potential for integration onto academic programmes
Ms Gill Musk CILT, the National Centre for Languages
14.30 - 14.55 Training translators for international organizations: A multi-faceted, competence-based pedagogical experience
Dr Luis Perez Gonzalez, University of Manchester
15.00 - 15.25 Translation project management: scope for inclusion at UG levels
Ms Nancy Matis, Translation Project Manager, Brussels
15.25 - 16.00 Universities and professional associations - cooperation for quality assurance
Dr Christina Schaeffner, University of Aston
16.00 - 16.15 Close

Pedagogy and Translation: Event Report

A welcome forum to meet colleagues with similar interests and ready to share ideas and experience.

- Conference attendee

by Alison Dickens

The event was organised and hosted by Rebecca Tipton at the University of Salford. It covered a number of key issues in the teaching of translation and interpreting from use of online tools, learner autonomy, research, translation standards and professional skills for translation project management.

Altogether the day provided a rich mixture of ideas relating to the teaching of translation and the interface with the profession. As with all academic study that has a vocational dimension translation studies must balance the need to achieve full coverage of the discipline with the need to prepare graduates for their professional practice. The increasing use of technology is seen as one way in which this can be achieved, together with real-life projects that help students become both better researchers and better practitioners.

Universities and professional associations - cooperation for quality assurance

Christina Shaeffner, University of Aston
Download PowerPoint presentation (535 Kb)

Christina Shaeffner explored issues of quality assurance highlighting the differences in QA frameworks used by HE and the translation industry. For example most HE standards are not based around the EU standards (EN-15038 European Quality Standard for Translation Services) and while in the profession the emphasis is on translation quality (the product) in HE more emphasis is placed on research and teaching quality (the process). She suggested that greater use of professional translators in university courses could help to raise the quality of vocational elements of HE courses, but as many translators do not have teaching experience this can have an impact on teaching quality.

A possible solution is to use staff expertise (many HE staff are still engaged in professional translation), to create more authentic tasks (an example of this was given at a previous Subject Centre Translation seminar) to use professionals as mentors or guest speakers and to set up placements for students in the profession. Finally she emphasised that it is important not to overemphasise translation as a skill and that the theoretical element is an essential part of training to give translators insights into the whole field.

The role of TAPS and other research methods in Translator Training

Sverine Hubscher-Davidson, University of Salford
Download PowerPoint presentation (81 Kb)

Sverine Hubscher-Davidson then looked at research-informed methods for translator training through her work using TAPs (Think Aloud Protocols) with translation students. This work explored notions of the impact of personality on translation competences, e.g. that some personalities thrive in a multilingual environment which may create a more open mind leading to a more creative approach to translation. To test this she used TAPs to record the ways in which students engaged with texts, the linguistic and creative choices made and the attitude to their final products. What these appeared to show was that there was a tendency for the most creative texts (judged by other translators) to have been the work of those who were most positive about the text and their translation of it.

Responses from students to the use of TAPs were mainly positive which suggests, Severine argues, that greater use of oral activities and group work may help students share their thoughts, ideas and strategies with each other. The differences in personalities and the impact on the translation process that this study revealed also indicated that a combination of methods including use of technologies, exercises focussing on the phases of translations as well as those cited above will also help meet the needs of different personality types.

Encouraging translator autonomy through discovery-based learning

Andrew Rothwell, University of Swansea
Download PowerPoint presentation (286 Kb)

Another perspective on the teaching and learning process for translation was given by Andrew Rothwell who looked at strategies for developing learner autonomy. In common with Christina he indentified a tension between the academic demands of a translation course and the need to accommodate professional practice. For students this represents a potentially difficult transition in the course of a degree from (language) learners to (translation) practitioners for which they need skills of team-work, decision-making and independence. This highlights, he argues, the need for the development of learner autonomy through the use of group projects which necessitate independent research, cooperation and the use of professional skills (translation technology, terminology-building and website localisation).

Introducing the National Occupational Translation Standards and potential for integration onto academic programmes

Gill Musk, CILT
Download PowerPoint presentation (221 Kb)

Looking to the professional aspects of translation practice (which was strong focus of the day) Gill Musk from CILT gave an overview of the National Occupational Translation Standards that are currently being developed. This builds on work that has already been done to develop the National Language Standards (2005), the National Interpreting Standards (2006) and are intended to inform professional skills, good practice, self-reflection and design of training courses. She outlined some of the ways in which these could be used in HE to help address the issue that many graduates are not profession-ready and possibly to help provide a framework for work placements.

Translation project management: scope for inclusion at UG levels

Nancy Matis, Translation Project Manager, Brussels
Download PowerPoint presentation (875 Kb)

One of the skills that professional translators often have to acquire, according to Nancy Matis is that of project management. I her talk she outlined the qualities of a good project manager and explored the ways in which professionally trained translators are frequently well-equipped to be good project managers. Nancy outlined some of the ways that she has been integrating project management skills into courses that she has been teaching at Lille as part of a Masters in Multilingual Technical Translation: Translation Technology and Project Management. In a 30 hour module she takes students through the whole project cycle First contact Analysis Budget Schedule Launching Monitoring Completing Post Mortem Archiving -using a simulated multilingual group project. At undergraduate level, she argues, students should be encouraged to use translation technologies, be introduced to methods for costing translations and to use online training courses such as eCoLoTrain.

eLearning for translators: the experience of eCoLoRe, eCoLoTrain and MeLLANGE

Tony Hartley, University of Leeds

Some online training materials for translators were demonstrated by Tony Hartley: eCoLoRe (training kits for translation tools), eCoLoTrain (training the trainers) and MeLLANGE (Framework for an EU masters in translation). These have been developed with European funding and the product of a collaboration between a number of EU countries. Tony demonstrated the sites (links below) and gave some tips on how to create and successfully realise a collaborative project of this type. For example:

  • Prepare the project carefully by reading the bid requirements, finding reliable partners and ensuring that there is something in it for everyone. Agree who is leading the project, set deadlines for writing drafts and recruit readers to comment on it
  • Submit the bid on time, be prepared for budget cuts and revise your project accordingly
  • If the bid is successful appoint a strong project manager, be scrupulous about finances and get ready to prepare the next bid.


Workshop: Liaison interpreting as a language-learning tool

Christine Wilson and Fanny Chouc, Heriot-Watt University

The day also include a workshop on using liaison interpreting as a language-learning tool led by Christine Wilson and Fanny Chouc. They began by explaining the nature of liaison interpreting and some of the other terminology that is applied to it ad hoc, bilateral, community, public service, escort, medical which relate to some of the contexts in which it is generally used. As a language learning tool it is considered to be very useful in helping to develop intercultural competence and analytic listening skills as well as helping to reinforce topic work, build vocabulary and help build up a repertoire of speech acts. Using members of the audience as volunteer interpreters Christine and Fanny simulated a typical situation that they might use with their students which highlighted some of the challenges of this type of exercise and types of errors that students make. This is also used as a peer evaluation activity in order to help the students learn from each other.